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Alberta Cancer Foundation

For Immediate Release
March 1, 2013

Alberta Cancer Foundation to Partner in New Cancer Centre in Calgary

Calgary -- The Government of Alberta announced plans today to build a new cancer centre in Calgary. This $1.2 billion dollar project will be built in partnership with the Alberta Cancer Foundation – Alberta’s largest cancer charity. The Alberta Cancer Foundation has committed to raise $200 million to support the new facility.


John Osler, Chairman of the Alberta Cancer Foundation’s Board of Trustees states “For the past year, we have been working tirelessly with the Alberta Government and other health stakeholders to bring the dream of a comprehensive cancer facility to fruition.” Osler, a cancer survivor, is overwhelmed by the announcement. “As a cancer survivor, I have seen the system from the inside,” says Osler. “The promise and opportunity a facility of this nature brings – not only for Calgarians, but for all Albertans – is truly monumental.”


Through the support of over 200,000 Alberta donors, the Alberta Cancer Foundation has funded more than $110 million towards cancer research, prevention and care over the past five years.


This new facility will provide cancer patients and their families all cancer services in one place, streamlining care. “Having a facility that gives patients access to the best research and the best care will offer improved outcomes for cancer patients in Calgary and Southern Alberta,” says Dr. Paul Grundy, Senior Vice President and Senior Medical Director of Alberta Health Service’s Cancer Care. “There are tremendous benefits to cancer patients when the best minds in cancer research, clinical practice and care work together, as a comprehensive cancer team.”


Fred Horne, Minister of Alberta Health, outlines the importance of partnerships in this project. “On behalf of cancer patients and their families, present and future, I welcome the partnership of all Albertans and Alberta organizations in supporting the fight against cancer,” said Fred Horne, Minister of Health. “I especially thank the Alberta Cancer Foundation for their leadership and financial support in helping make this new cancer facility a reality, and I encourage people everywhere to show their support."


Researchers will be closer to oncologists and patients, offering valuable insight into their work. “The goal of research is to offer innovative approaches to identifying and treating cancer,” says Dr. Gregory Cairncross, the Alberta Cancer Foundation Chair of Brain Tumour Research. “Being able to work shoulder to shoulder with patients and the cancer care team provides key feedback that will further enhance our progress.”

“Our donors are Albertans and they have told us that a new cancer facility in Calgary is their priority,” says Myka Osinchuk, CEO of the Alberta Cancer Foundation. “As Alberta’s largest cancer charity, we will continue to make progress towards a cancer-free future on behalf of cancer patients, their families and our donors.”


For more information, please contact:
Carmelle Boston
Vice President, Communications -- Alberta Cancer Foundation
Cell: 780.224.3593    Phone: 780.643.4405


About the Alberta Cancer Foundation

The Alberta Cancer Foundation is Alberta’s largest health foundation, with over 200,000 donors raising over $37 million dollars for cancer research, prevention and care in 2011/12. As an Alberta-based foundation, all money raised by Albertans stays in Alberta to support research, programs and services throughout the province.


The Alberta Cancer Foundation is the largest non-government funder of cancer research in Alberta, with over $110 million invested in research over the past five years. Alberta has the highest rate of participation in Clinical Trials in Canada, with over 2,000 Albertans involved in 200 clinical trials. The Alberta Cancer Foundation invested $2.5 million in Clinical Trials in 2011/12.

The Patient Financial Assistance Program provided over $750,000 last year to support cancer patients undergoing treatment and their families.  In support of cancer prevention strategies, the Alberta Cancer Foundation has invested over $16 million over the past five years.

Calgary Research funded through the Alberta Cancer Foundation


A dream team of the country’s top minds in brain cancer research are harnessing their talent and technologies for glioblastoma, the most common and deadly form of brain cancer affecting 2600 Canadians annually. Dr. Gregory Cairncross, Alberta Cancer Foundation Chair in Brain Tumour Research will lead the study made possible by an $8.2 million investment from the Alberta Cancer Foundation, Terry Fox Research Institute, Alberta Innovates—Health Solutions and other partners from across Canada.


Colorectal Surveillance Research Program
The Alberta Cancer Foundation and healthcare leader Sanofi Canada have partnered on an innovative provincial colorectal cancer surveillance research program. The goal of the program, led by Dr. Jay Easaw in Calgary, is to identify the best way to achieve 90 per cent adherence to patients’ follow-up guidelines capturing recurrences when a cure is still possible.


Molecular Epidemiology
Molecular epidemiology promises to increase our understanding of how environmental and genetic risk factors impact the development of cancer at the molecular level and contribute to the growth, or as the case may be, the prevention of the disease. Dr. Hans Vogel was named the Chair in Molecular Cancer Epidemiology funded by the Alberta Cancer Foundation and the University of Calgary.


Clinical Trials
The Alberta Cancer Foundation invests $2.5 million into the Alberta Cancer Clinical Trials which supports 2,000 Albertans currently participating in more than 200 clinical trials around the province, spanning all cancer types. Alberta leads Canada in clinical trial participation with nearly 11 per cent of new cancer patients taking part in a trial compared to the national average of seven per cent.


Exercise and Cancer Control
Last year, Dr. Christine Friedenreich was named the Weekend to End Women’s Cancers Breast Cancer Endowed Chair. Dr. Friedenreich has spent her career investigating the influence of physical activity on cancer control across the spectrum of the cancer journey—from prevention to diagnosis to survivorship.  One of her studies, the Breast Cancer and Exercise Trial in Alberta (BETA Trial) is examining what the optimal amount of exercise is for reducing breast cancer risk. Another study, the Alberta Moving Beyond Breast Cancer (AMBER) Study is examining how physical activity and fitness are related to survival after breast cancer. That large study will enroll 1500 newly diagnosed breast cancer cases in Edmonton and Calgary and follow them up for 10 years.


Psychosocial Oncology
The Enbridge Endowed Research in Psychosocial Oncology (funded by the Alberta Cancer Foundation) is the first of its kind in Canada, and only a few in the world dedicated to this area of cancer care. Psychosocial oncology is a specialty concerned with understanding and treatment the psychological, emotional, spiritual and quality-of-life domains for patients and families living with cancer. Dr. Linda Carlson holds this chair.


Viral Oncolysis
As director of the Translational Laboratories, Dr. Don Morris oversees investigators who keep busy examining new methodologies for looking at cancer cell behaviour. His team focuses on manipulating reovirus, a common respiratory virus, in the treatment of breast, prostate, renal cell, kidney and lung cancers. His team has tried to capitalize on the virus’s affinity for cancer cells to kill the tumour. Reoviruses have oncolytic properties, meaning they like to infect some tumour cells. Once inside a cell, they replicate, like viruses do, until the cell bursts and dies, spewing out lots more reovirus. If the cells that are bursting and dying are cancer cells, this is a good thing – uncontrolled cellular growth is a defining point of cancer.